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31-Jul 2019 Wednesday 1:34 PM (54 days ago)               #1
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FIBA World Cup 2019: Many Stars are Gone, but a Big One’s Getting Ready

The FIBA World Cup 2019 is set to tip off in just over a month. This year's tournament will be held in China and will once again feature some of the best players in the world facing off against one another.

However, this year's World Cup won't be nearly as star-studded as many would have hoped, in large part due to a good number of withdrawals by some big-name NBA players on Team USA.

SBOBET is here to break down all the important news regarding the upcoming FIBA World Cup.

So many Team USA withdrawals

Team USA has been beset by several high-profile withdrawals from their World Cup roster. Big names like Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Kawhi Leonard were already removed from the roster back in June.

That left the likes of Anthony Davis, James Harden, and clutch assassin Damian Lillard to lead the squad. However, those three MVP candidates have also pulled out in recent weeks, along with Bradley Beal, Tobias Harris, Kevin Love, CJ McCollum, Eric Gordon, and Paul Millsap.

James Harden will not participate in playing for the United States in FIBA World Cup 2019
NBA star James Harden withdraws from the team that will represent the U.S. in the FIBA World Cup in China

That mass exodus of stars has left head coach Gregg Popovich with an understrength team. Their current roster features just two players with more than one All-Star appearance in Kemba Walker and Kyle Lowry, who recently underwent thumb surgery.

But despite Team USA's notable lack of star power, they are still the overwhelming favourites according to the FIBA World Cup 2019 betting odds. That's also in part due to their competition not being as fierce as in years past, especially with Spain's stars ageing out.

The current Team USA roster features a strong Boston Celtics contingent led by Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart, as well as rising stars Donovan Mitchell and Kyle Kuzma. The likes of Julius Randle, Thaddeus Young, Montrezl Harrell, and Mason Plumlee have also been included this past week.

And in Popovich, they have one of the greatest coaches of all-time ready to steer one of the least imposing US teams in recent memory to victory.

Ben Simmons begs out of Boomers

The American stars aren't the only ones who've made FIBA World Cup 2019 news by deciding against playing. Even Australian ace Ben Simmons has begged out of participating in the tournament.

The Philadelphia 76ers point guard, who just signed a massive five-year, $170 million contract extension, says he wants to focus on preparing for the new NBA season. Although, he still plans to play in the team's warm-up games, as well as represent Australia in next summer's Olympics in Tokyo.

Simmons' departure is obviously a huge blow for the Boomers, who are in Group H along with Canada, Lithuania, and Senegal.

Although the Bommer still have a number of NBA-calibre players -- Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Andrew Bogut, Matthew Dellavedova, Jonah Bolden -- they are an ageing team for the most part. Simmons was their one true young star who potentially could've carried them into championship contention.

Despite his continued lack of shooting ability, Simmons is still a terrific player thanks to his elite athleticism and brilliant passing, which the Aussies could've done with in the tournament.

Without Simmons, the Aussies won't be a sure thing to get out of Group H. And even if they do make it to the second round, it would be a tough ask for them to progress to the quarter-finals and beyond.

Greek Freak getting ready

While a good number of NBA stars have backed out of the World Cup, perhaps the brightest one of them all -- reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo -- is ready to get to work and lead Greece in the tournament.

The Greek national team, which features Giannis and brothers Thanasis and Kostas, as well as veterans Georgios Printezis, Nick Calathes, Ioannis Bourousis, Kostas Sloukas, and Kostas Papanikolaou have already begun training camp ahead of the World Cup.

The Greek Freak is coming off a brilliant season with the Milwaukee Bucks. He averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and shot 58 per cent from the field to claim his first-career MVP award. He came up with some outstanding postseason performances, but the Bucks fell to eventual champion Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference finals.

Antetokounmpo will be tasked with delivering more dominant numbers for a Greek team that will be looking to return to the heights of 2006, when they claimed silver in the World Cup.

The Greeks are in a relatively easy Group F along with New Zealand, Brazil, and Montenegro. With the Greek Freak on their side, they should strongly fancy their chances of moving on to the next round -- and possibly even further.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 31-Jul-2019 at 1:35 PM


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14-Aug 2019 Wednesday 1:59 PM (40 days ago)            #2
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NBA: 5 Stars to Lookout For In the 2019 FIBA World Cup

With the FIBA World Cup just a few weeks away, all participating national teams have been preparing fervently for one of the biggest stages in basketball.

Many NBA players have set aside their vacation time in the offseason to make a name for themselves while representing their respective countries.

Even if Team USA are the prohibitive favourites of winning it all once again in China, expect a lot of up-and-coming teams to try and give them a run for their money.

Here at SBOBET, we feature some of the players that are set to make waves in the said tournament.

Nikola Jokic, Serbia

Nikola Jokic is expected to carry the offensive cudgels for a strong Serbia squad that boasts the likes of fellow NBA-ers Bogdan Bogdanovic, Milos Teodosic, Boban Marjanovic, and Nemanja Bjelica.

The Denver Nuggets main man in the middle emerged as one of the brightest young stars in the league thanks to his uncanny passing ability and a vaunted arsenal on offence.

After being picked 41st overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, the seven-footer worked his way up for a then-rebuilding Nuggets team.

Just last season, Jokic led Denver to as far as the Western Conference semifinals - the farthest the team has ever been since their 2009 playoff run. He even made the All-Star and All-NBA First Team that year as well.

Coming off a successful NBA season, Nikola Jokic will lead a powerhouse Serbia squad in the World Cup
Nikola Jokic posts up Enes Kanter during the NBA playoff series between Denver and Portland

With him leading the way, Serbia is looking to stake their claim at the gold after their maiden finish in the 2016 Olympics. They will face Italy, Angola, and the Philippines in Group D.

Nikola Vucevic, Montenegro

Another NBA star to look out for in the World Cup is Nikola Vucevic, who is tasked to bring Montenegro to new heights.

Vucevic made strides in the last NBA season, where he led the Magic to a playoff berth after a seven-year drought. He signed a lucrative $100M max deal with the team last month, increasing their NBA 2019 odds of going far in the playoffs next season.

The eight-year journeyman churned out a strong 2019 season, tallying norms of 20.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per contest. He even made the All-Star team for the first time in his career as well.

The Orlando Magic slot man will be an integral part for the Montenegro national team looking to make some noise despite being dubbed as underdogs.

Marc Gasol, Spain

Even if he’s not what he used to be, Marc Gasol remains one of the prominent players in FIBA history playing for Team Spain.

Fresh from winning his first NBA championship, the younger Gasol will provide leadership and heft for Spain as they’ll try to win their first World Cup crown after 13 years.

The 34 -year-old is a post-up monster as he can pick on his smaller defenders with a variety of post moves. He is also an intelligent defender who uses his size well to anchor the defence. From time to time, he can shoot the long ball to keep opposing defences honest.

Marc Gasol is now setting his sights on the World Cup with Spain after helping the Raptors win the NBA championship
Marc Gasol hugs Toronto Raptors teammate Kyle Lowry after winning the NBA Finals

Gasol will be backed up with the likes of Ricky Rubio, Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernandez, and the Hernangomez brothers. Spain is slated a Group C along with Iran, Puerto Rico, and Tunisia.

Kemba Walker, USA

Despite several players pulling out, the Gregg Popovich-mentored team won’t be short of NBA-calibre talents in the World Cup.

Team USA will be captained by point guard Kemba Walker, who has transferred from the Hornets to the Celtics this summer. After years of being mired with mediocrity, Walker will now have a chance to advance further in the playoffs under the tutelage of Brad Stevens.

The New York native will make his first appearance for Team USA. He is a three-time All-Star and is one of the more explosive guards in the game today.

Walker is a solid scorer and can knock down the outside shot. But more importantly, he is an underrated passer and defender despite being undersized.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greece

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been a mainstay for Greece for quite some time, but this will probably be the first time where he’ll get to lead the national team.

He will be joined with brothers Thanasis and Kostas, along with former NBA players Nick Calathes and Kostas Papanikolaou.

The rangy forward is coming off an MVP season after he towed the Milwaukee Bucks to the Eastern Conference Finals. He is a three-time All-Star and is part of the NBA All-Defensive Team multiple times.

The 24-year-old can wreak havoc on both ends. He can score easily in the paint with his strength and he can pose as a lockdown defender with his IQ and size.

With his long strides and jaw-dropping dunks -- expect Antetokounmpo to provide more NBA 2019 highlights – especially if he develops a lethal three-point shot.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 14-Aug-2019 at 1:59 PM


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22-Aug 2019 Thursday 2:42 PM (32 days ago)            #3
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FIBA World Cup: Serbs Top Greek Freak, More Team USA Dropouts, Nigeria in Need

The 2019 FIBA World Cup is now just a few days away. The competing teams are all busy with their preparations and tune-up matches ahead of this prestigious tournament.

Two of the best teams in the competition in Serbia and Greece just so happened to square off as they gave a preview of what's to come from them in China.

However, there is some distressing news regarding Nigeria, who may not even take part in the competition due to financial problems involving their own government.

And finally, there are a couple more departures from Team USA, which has left coach Gregg Popovich with just one more cut to make.

These are all the major news stories SBOBET is set to enlighten you on as the FIBA World Cup creeps ever closer.

Serbia top Greece in Acropolis Tournament

While Team USA may still be the big favourites to win the FIBA World Cup despite their relatively depleted roster, the FIBA World Cup 2019 betting odds have Serbia and Greece as the two top contenders to the crown.

The two countries recently met in the final of the Acropolis International Basketball Tournament as they continued their warm-ups for the World Cup. And despite missing star centre Nikola Jokic, the Serbians still defeated Greece in overtime, 85-80.

The Sacramento Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic starred in the final as he had a game-high 28 points. The forward finished as the tournament's top scorer, averaging 20 points in three games.

Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had 20 points and eight rebounds in the final, also had a fine tournament as he averaged 18 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and 2.7 blocks.

Although it was just a tune-up match, the fact that the Serbians still won without their best player -- and one of the World Cup's stars to look out for -- in Jokic is a testament to their strength in depth. Unless something unexpected occurs, they should be right there among the top contenders for the title.

As for Greece, although they might have the best player in the tournament in Giannis, other members of their squad will still need to step up for them to make a deep run.

Serbia are in Group D along with the Philippines, Italy, and Angola. Meanwhile, the Greeks are in Group F with Montenegro, Brazil, and New Zealand.

Team USA squad now down to 13 after more withdrawals

Gregg Popovich desperately eyes for victory as USA set to battle in the most awaited FIBA World Cup 2019
USA coach Gregg Popovich talks with Kemba Walker during their exhibition basketball game against Spain

Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich will need to pick his 12 best players before the start of the World Cup. But the pool he's choosing from is now down to just 13 with the recent FIBA World Cup 2019 news that both PJ Tucker and De'Aaron Fox have both pulled out as well.

While Tucker withdrew due to an ankle injury, Fox decided not to take part so he could instead focus on preparing for a playoff run with the Kings this upcoming season.

The 13 players remaining on the Team USA squad are big men Brook Lopez, Myles Turner, and Mason Plumlee, forwards Harrison Barnes, Jaylen Brown, Kyle Kuzma, Jayson Tatum, and guards, Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Harris, and Derrick White.

The most likely candidates to be the final cut are Plumlee, Harris, and White. But given Harris' shooting and the team's overall lack of size, White could be the odd man out even though he is Popovich's player on the Spurs.

Team USA has made their way to Australia, where they will continue the rest of their World Cup preparations before flying off to China near the end of the month. The Americans are in Group E alongside Turkey, the Czech Republic, and Japan.

Nigeria could miss World Cup due to financial problems

Nigeria are one of five teams representing Africa in this year's FIBA World Cup. However, they may not be able to take part due to financial issues.

According to a report from Colin Udoh on ESPN, members of the Nigerian team allege that the Ministry of Sport has not released their money for the World Cup.

The likes of Stan Okoye, Ekpe Udoh, Ike Iroegbu, and Gabe Vincent were among the players who went public about this issue on social media.

They say the lack of funds has made it difficult for them to prepare for the World Cup and that they've had to shoulder the expenses themselves.

However, they remain hopeful the situation can be resolved and that they can put on a strong showing at the World Cup.

Obviously, it would be a major disappointment if the Nigerian team were unable to take part due to their government's lack of support. Hopefully, they can get everything all sorted out before the beginning of the tournament.

Nigeria are in Group B along with Russia, Argentina, and South Korea.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 22-Aug-2019 at 2:42 PM


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27-Aug 2019 Tuesday 7:34 PM (27 days ago)            #4
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FIBA World Cup: Asia’s Best Ready for Battle

The 2019 FIBA World Cup is set to begin on August 31 in China. The competition will feature the hosts, as well as five other countries from the Asian continent.

Asian teams have been unable to break the dominance of the Americas and Europe in world basketball, and the FIBA World Cup 2019 odds don't see any of them as true contenders.

But still, the Asian participants in this year's tournament will be eager to give a good account of themselves and perhaps score an upset or two.

Let's take a closer look at each of those six Asian teams and see how they might fare in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

China

China are back in the FIBA World Cup after failing to make it in 2014. Although, they didn't have to qualify this time around since they're the tournament hosts.

Nevertheless, they have a decent chance to move on to the second round of the tournament. They are installed as the favourites to win a competitive Group A which features Poland, Venezuela, and Ivory Coast.

With a towering frontcourt composed of seven-footers Yi Jianlian, Zhou Qi, and Wang Zhelin, the Chinese possess the size to challenge any team in the tournament.

However, they will need their guards -- particularly point guard Guo Ailun -- to step up if they are to return to the round of 16.

Iran

Iran have been among the giants of the Asian region for over a decade, but they have yet to make a mark on the world stage. They've won just two of their 10 FIBA World Cup matches to date and have yet to make it to the round of 16.

But they should stand a decent chance of doing so this year. With Spain head and shoulders above the rest of Group C, the Iranians will have to battle it out with Puerto Rico and Tunisia for that second spot.

Star big man Hamed Haddadi, now in his mid-30s, will have to continue to carry a heavy load offensively for Iran to stand a chance.

Japan

The Japanese find themselves in a difficult Group E alongside tournament favourites USA, as well as Turkey and the Czech Republic. As a result, their FIBA World Cup 2019 odds to make it to the next round aren't all that encouraging.

But still, the Japanese will look to give a good account of themselves. With naturalised big man Nick Fazekas, young Rui Hachimura -- the team's rising star who was recently drafted by the Washington Wizards -- and Memphis Grizzlies forward Yuta Watanabe leading the way, the Akatsuki Five could yet produce some FIBA World Cup 2019 highlights.

Jordan

Similar to Japan, Jordan face an uphill battle to make it through to the next round. They find themselves in a very competitive Group G with France, Germany, and the Dominican Republic.

The Jordanians are making just their second-ever trip to the FIBA World Cup; they lost all five of their matches back in 2010. They very nearly caused a huge shock in their first match against Australia but didn't come quite as close in succeeding matches.

Their opening match against the Dominican Republic will be their best shot to score that elusive first win in this tournament.

Philippines

Like many other Asian countries, the Philippines are at a disadvantage in size even with the inclusion of naturalised big man Andray Blatche. Nevertheless, the Filipinos have successfully qualified for their second straight FIBA World Cup.

The Gilas squad won one out of four matches back in 2014. But they will bring a much-changed and relatively inexperienced squad to China and will hope that their big men -- 33-year-old Blatche and Philippine Basketball Association MVP June Mar Fajardo -- can carry them offensively.

While the Nikola Jokic-led Serbia are the massive favourites in Group D, the Filipinos could potentially steal second spot if they can somehow score an upset over Italy in their first match of the group.

South Korea

This will be South Korea's third trip to the FIBA World Cup in 21 years. In their previous two campaigns, they failed to win a single match in 10 tries.

Getting that elusive first win this year could prove rather difficult, though, as they are set to face three far superior teams in Argentina, Russia, and Nigeria -- who have been facing some financial problems recently -- in Group B. SBOBET odds have them priced at 121.00 to win the group, with the other three teams 3.00 or lower.

With their continued lack of size -- they have no player taller than 6-foot-9 -- the South Koreans' 3-point shooting will need to be spot-on for them to remain competitive.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 27-Aug-2019 at 7:34 PM


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30-Aug 2019 Friday 6:55 PM (24 days ago)            #5
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FIBA World Cup: Powerhouse Argentina Faces Veteran-Laden Korea

Argentina vs Korea Republic

After months of anticipation, the 2019 FIBA World Cup is finally here where the world’s best teams are going to compete for the much-coveted golden Naismith Trophy.

Even if it isn’t as star-studded as it used to be, the playing field remains competitive and basketball fans are in for a huge treat.

In the first day, perennial powerhouse Argentina are set to face a retooled South Korean squad to kick off the festivities in Group B.

The Argentinians are the hot favourites to be on top of the group, as per FIBA 2019 odds. However, the rest are more than capable of giving them a run for their money.

Korea, on the other hand, have always been one of Asia’s best teams. But they’re still trying to get that elusive win in the biggest stage after failing to do so in their previous appearances.

Allow SBOBET to offer you a sneak peek on how these teams will match up on August 31st.

Talking Points

Argentina’s one-two punch

Coach Sergio Hernandez will field in a mix of young and veteran players in Group B of the FIBA World Cup.

With veterans like Manu Ginobili, Andres Nocioni, and Pablo Prigioni gone, the team will have to rely on the duo of Facundo Campazzo and Luis Scola to try and carry the Argentineans to new heights.

Facundo Campazzo plays very well as the team’s playmaker with his craftiness with the ball. The Real Madrid point guard is a two-time EuroLeague champion and was adjudged the Spanish Endesa Liga Finals MVP just recently.

He is a quintessential point guard that any coach would love to have. Campazzo can facilitate the offence very well and he can light up the scoreboard when needed. Look for him to drop a lot of assists to his teammates in China, and expect most of them to be delivered in spectacular fashion – ones that would add to the FIBA World Cup 2019 highlights.

Joining him is the savvy veteran big in Luis Scola, who has been suiting up for the national team for quite some time. At 39 years old, Scola shows no signs of slowing down and he will play in his fifth FIBA World Cup, as he looks for international glory anew.

He will be tasked to be the focal point in the post for Coach Sergio Hernandez. Scola has always been an adept scorer that can finish with both hands and he is no slouch on defence either. Already familiar with playing in China, Scola has played both for the Shanxi Brave Dragons and for the Shanghai Sharks in the CBA.

Korea’s deadly shooting and Ricardo Ratliffe

South Koreans have been long known for their deadly and clutch outside shooting – just ask the Philippines. However, what’s lacking for this team over the past few years is having a reliable, strong inside presence.

To cure their problems in the paint, the Koreans went out to get international journeyman Ricardo Ratliffe. Standing at 6’9’’ and 245 pounds, Ratliffe is a proven double-double machine that can overwhelm his opponents in the interior.

The Hampton, Virginia native is already familiar with the Asian scene as has had stints playing in the Korean Basketball League and in the Philippine Basketball Association. He will be tasked to anchor the defence of the Koreans with his length and athleticism.

Manning the point guard position is Heo Hoon, who has emerged as one of the up-and-coming stars in the Korean Basketball League. Heo is the son of former national team coach Hur Jae and he first saw action at the seniors’ pool back in 2016.

At just 24 years old, Heo Hoon plays like a veteran already. He operates well in the perimeter and uses his speed very well to keep up with the team’s vaunted motion offence. He will blend in well with the likes of Kim Sunhyung, Lee Daesung, and Park Chanhee – all who have played in Korea’s last foray into the World Cup. The youngster believes that playing alongside those veterans can improve his game even further.

“Competition is indispensable in the national team. This time we will all play against very strong opponents like Russia, Argentina, and Nigeria. I see this as an opportunity to try and push our limits,” said Heo Hoon.

History

Argentina have been a staple in the FIBA World Cup, making 13 total appearances. They were the inaugural gold medalists back in 1950 and they won the silver medal back in 2002 – when Luis Scola made his debut for the national team.

Korea, on the other hand, have made seven total appearances, but they never won any medals.

Betting Tip

??

Argentina vs Korea Republic Argentina Asian Handicap -20.50 @1.99
August 31, 20:30 (GMT+8)

The FIBA Americas powerhouse is expected to win in this game against Korea, at least in double digits. With the team being loaded on all fronts, expect Coach Sergio Hernandez to pull away with an easy win on this one.

The Korean’s only hope to keep up in this game is when they can make a lot of their three-point attempts. But even if they make a lot of them, it’s hard to imagine anyone from their roster stopping the pick-and-roll combination of Luis Scola and Facundo Campazzo.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 30-Aug-2019 at 6:55 PM


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30-Aug 2019 Friday 7:02 PM (24 days ago)            #6
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FIBA World Cup: China and Les Elephants Collide Again

China vs Cote d'Ivoire

Hosts China are all set to begin their 2019 FIBA World Cup campaign as they take on Cote d'Ivoire. The Chinese, who are back in the World Cup after missing out in 2014, are arguably the strongest team among the Asian contingent and will be hoping to go deep in the tournament in front of their home fans.

The FIBA World Cup 2019 odds certainly favour the hosts to get off to a winning start in the competition as they face perhaps their weakest opponent in Group A.

However, they must not underestimate the Africans, who may not have NBA talent but do possess an experienced squad of veterans, some of whom have been on this big stage before.

Talking Points

China's Triple Towers

When talking about China's chances of going far in this tournament, it all starts in the middle. The Chinese possess a trio of seven-footers in Yi Jianlian, Wang Zhelin, and Zhou Qi, who will allow the team to dominate in the paint against just about any opponent.

Yi is still the undisputed star of the team. The 31-year-old former NBA lottery pick has spent the past seven seasons in the Chinese Basketball Association. He is coming off another impressive season in which he led his team, the Guangdong Southern Tigers, to yet another championship as he won CBA Finals MVP.

Yi is one of the remaining holdovers from the China squad which competed in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. Yi had a terrific tournament as he finished fifth with 20.2 points per game and led the tournament with 10.2 rebounds.

This year, it could be Zhou Qi's turn to produce a number of FIBA World Cup 2019 highlights. The 23-year-old former Houston Rocket is a remarkably talented big man who can protect the rim and shoot from distance. With him and Wang -- the CBA's reigning Domestic MVP -- manning the middle, the Cote d'Ivoire centres will have their hands full all game long.

But while most of the attention will be on the Triple Towers, point guard Guo Ailun could turn out to be the key for China. The 25-year-old is a vastly experienced international player who was also part of that 2010 squad as a 16-year-old. He will run the show for the Chinese and will be crucial in feeding their frontcourt stars the ball.

Cote d'Ivoire's experienced core

One of five African teams along with Angola, Senegal, Tunisia, and Nigeria -- who've had some financial problems -- Cote d'Ivoire are back in the FIBA World Cup for the fourth time in their history. They most recently made it back in 2010, when they won just one of their five games.

A handful of players who featured in that tournament are still around, including Souleyman Diabate, Guy Edi, and Noe Abouo. Those three were instrumental in helping them qualify for the World Cup as the best third-place team during the African Qualifiers.

Les Elephants don't possess a single player who has ever played in the NBA; majority of the team plays in the French league.

However, they will have some added reinforcements in the form of naturalised forward Deon Thompson. The 30-year-old, who plays for Unicaja in Spain, was a member of the North Carolina Tar Heels team which won the NCAA national championship back in 2009.

Thompson will have the unenviable task of going up against the likes of Yi and Zhou in the paint and could find it tough to score against the length of the Chinese big men.

History

China and Cote d'Ivoire have only met once in international basketball. They were actually in the same group back in 2010 and played in the second game.

China came out on top, 83-73, with Yi Jianlian leading the Chinese with 26 points and nine rebounds. Souleyman Diabate starred for the Elephants with 20 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.

That turned out to be China's only win of the tournament, although they still made it to the round of 16. Meanwhile, Cote d'Ivoire were able to beat Puerto Rico in their final game to get their only win.

What are the odds?

The SBOBET odds for these two teams to go on and win the FIBA World Cup are astronomical. The Chinese are priced at 251.00 while Cote d'Ivoire's odds are even higher at 801.00. With those odds, it's highly unlikely that either turns out to be a contender.

As for this game itself, China are major -11.50 favourites on the Asian Handicap market. That's not surprising given the significant talent gap the Chinese will have, not to mention the advantage of playing in front of their home fans.

The atmosphere at the Wukesong Sports Arena in Beijing should be electric for the hosts' first match, which should help them secure a comfortable win against Les Elephants.

 

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03-Sep 2019 Tuesday 12:57 PM (20 days ago)            #7
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FIBA World Cup: Team USA Starts Journey to Gold

Czech Republic vs USA

Team USA are coming in with same old lofty expectations as they’ll compete in the much-awaited FIBA World Cup starting on tomorrow in Shanghai, China.

The Gregg Popovich-mentored squad isn’t as star-studded as expected with most NBA stars dropping out, but it will be foolish to count them out.

USA is ranked as the top country and rightfully so, as they’ve dominated the competition for the past 13 years. They are currently placed in Group E against the likes of Turkey, Japan, and Czech Republic.

Meanwhile, Czechia will be making their World Cup debut after sneaking in through the European qualifiers. The Ronen Ginzburg-coached team has progressed year after year, highlighted by their splendid performances in their last three EuroBasket.

While this may appear to be a David and Goliath matchup, expect a lot of FIBA World Cup 2019 highlights in this one with guys like Kemba Walker and Tomas Satoransky playing the point for their respective clubs.

SBOBET discusses some talking points ahead of this game on Sunday.

Talking Points

Who can stop Team USA?

That has been the question by all other national teams since they last lost in the 2006 FIBA World Cup semis against the Greeks. Under then-coach Mike Krzyzewski, the star-spangled team notched 76 straight wins in a 13-year span – including exhibition friendlies.

For the better part of the decade, NBA superstars have taken turns in bringing USA the gold. This time around, however, majority of them are keen on focusing their energy towards preparing for the long 2020 NBA season ahead. But nonetheless, talent will never be an issue for Team USA as a lot of up-and-coming NBA players seized the opportunity to serve their country.

Kemba Walker will serve as the captain of the squad and he will be joined by the likes of new Celtics teammates Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart. Other standouts like Khris Middleton, Donovan Mitchell, Myles Turner, and Harrison Barnes will join in as well.

Gregg Popovich will man the helm for the Americans. He has served as the head coach for the San Antonio Spurs for over two decades in the NBA and is highly regarded in the coaching circles.

The Americans have never looked this vulnerable in the past few years. But time and time again, they’ve always proved that their overwhelming talent can defeat any other team on the planet.

USA make their FIBA World Cup debut on Sunday when they face the Czech Republic at the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center
United States' Kemba Walker is shown during the second half of an exhibition basketball game

Can Czech Republic make the most out of their tourney debut?

Czechia have always been close to making it in the big stage. However, they’ve experienced a topsy-turvy journey over these last few years.

They made their return in the EuroBasket last 2013. From there, they finished seventh in the 2015 edition, but they missed their chance at the Rio Olympics when they bowed out in the Olympic Qualification Tournament back in 2016.

After another disappointment in EuroBasket 2017, Coach Ronen Ginzburg guided Czech Republic to a strong European Qualifiers campaign - finishing with an 8-4 record as they booked their ticket to Group E.

The 14th-overall ranked team is to be led by Tomas Satoransky, who recently moved to the Chicago Bulls after playing backup minutes behind John Wall and the Washington Wizards. He will be tasked to carry the offensive cudgels for Czechia, especially after losing Jan Vesely due to a knee injury.

He will be supported mainly by the improving Ondrej Balvin. The seven-footer is a strong post presence and he can knock down the three-pointer from time to time.

All odds are stacked against Czechia in this game. But perhaps this is a great gauge for them on how they stack up against the world’s best.

“Facing the best team in the world is a great opportunity to evaluate your progression, and to get to know our level of competitiveness too,” said Satoransky in a recent interview.

History

Team USA have made 17 total appearances in the FIBA World Cup. They’ve amassed five golds, three silvers, and four bronzes. Save for their exhibition loss against Australia, their last loss in international competition was way back in the 2006 FIBA Worlds when they lost against Greece.

On the flip side, this will be Czech Republic’s first-ever appearance in the said tournament since they joined FIBA in 1993.

Betting Tip

??

Czech Republic vs USA USA Asian Handicap -32.50 @1.93
September 1, 20:30 (GMT+8)

Is there ever any doubt?

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, team USA is expected to win in this game by a large margin. In fact, they are the overwhelming favourites pegged 1.44 to win the whole tournament, as per FIBA World Cup 2019 odds.

With that said, it’s up for Czech Republic to put up a fight against the mighty Americans. If they’ll lose by below 20 points, it can be considered a victory in itself for Coach Ronen Ginzburg.

Czechia can instead turn their focus to beating Turkey and Japan in order to advance in the second round, and that sounds even more realistic than pinning your hopes to beating USA.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

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03-Sep 2019 Tuesday 1:05 PM (20 days ago)            #8
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FIBA World Cup: China Clash with Top Group A Challengers

China vs Poland

Hosts China made a perfect start to their FIBA World Cup campaign as they swept aside Cote d'Ivoire, 70-55. Veterans Yi Jianlian and Guo Ailun led the way for the Chinese, who showed just why they are considered arguably the strongest Asian representative in this year's tournament.

The Chinese will now look to secure their place in the next round when they take on Poland. The Poles are coming off an 80-69 win over Venezuela, their first victory in the FIBA World Cup in over half a century.

But despite having the home advantage and more established stars, the FIBA World Cup 2019 odds favour Poland in this matchup between two of the top teams in Group A.

Talking Points

Chinese star power

China flexed their muscles with their impressive win over Cote d'Ivoire. The Elephants were able to keep it close for much of the game, but the Chinese went on a run late in the third quarter and never looked back.

As noted in SBOBET's preview of the game, Yi Jianlian led the way with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Guo Ailun added 17 points and nine assists. Promising young big man Zhou Qi also impressed with 12 points and six rebounds.

The Chinese were only 1-of-10 on 3-pointers and shot just 58 per cent from the free-throw line, but they went 53 per cent from the field as the Africans were unable to stop their star trio.

But perhaps more impressively, the Chinese defence completely shut down Cote d'Ivoire offensively. The Elephants were limited to a miserable 29 per cent shooting overall.

China will once again look to their two stars, Yi and Guo, to lead them against Poland. Those two are capable of consistently providing offence for their team. Both are also highly experienced in international play and should be able to keep their composure should things get tight.

And should the game become a more defensive affair, the Chinese possess the length -- particularly in the middle with Yi, Zhou, and Wang Zhelin -- to disrupt the Polish attack.

Poland are coming from a victory against Venezuela as they face China in FIBA World Cup
Poland players celebrating their win against Venzuela

Poland's team effort

There are a number of NBA stars in this year's competition, but much like the Ivory Coast, Poland don't have a single player on their squad who's ever played in the league. That's after veteran big man Marcin Gortat's retirement from international play.

The Poles didn't have the best preparation for the tournament as they lost four of their tune-up matches against Germany, Czech Republic (twice), and Tunisia.

But even with those shaky outings, the Poles picked up their long-awaited World Cup win against Venezuela. Michal Sokolowski led five Polish players in double figures with 16 points and nine rebounds. Mateusz Ponitka had 15 points, while Adam Hrycaniuk added a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Poles were nothing special offensively; they shot 42 per cent overall against a subpar opponent and hit 8-of-26 3-pointers. But despite their lack of recognisable names, Poland coach Mike Taylor has built a side that's capable of putting some points up.

Star guard AJ Slaughter wasn't at his best against Venezuela as he finished with just seven points and five assists. But when he's at his best, the EuroLeague veteran can provide another dimension, not to mention FIBA World Cup 2019 highlights.

The Polish defence also has the potential to cause the Chinese some problems. They kept the Venezuelans to under 40 per cent shooting, including 26 per cent on 3-pointers.

History

Poland don't have much history to speak of in the World Cup as it's been 52 years since they last qualified for the tournament. The won four of their nine matches back in 1967 and finished fifth in the tournament.

Meanwhile, China have picked up their first World Cup win since 2010, when they also defeated Cote d'Ivoire in the group stage. Despite going 1-4 in that tournament, they still qualified for the last 16, where they lost to Lithuania.

What are the odds?

SBOBET odds have Poland priced at 1.80 on the money line market, with China slight underdogs at 2.06. Meanwhile, the Asian Handicap is also very close, with Poland slightly favoured at -1.00.

While China have the Triple Towers in the paint, they are not particularly big nor athletic on the wings and along the perimeter.

That will likely be where Poland will thrive, with the likes of Ponitka, Sokolowski, and Slaughter capable of hurting the Chinese. The Poles' 3-point shooting could also come into play against China, who hit just one triple against Cote' d'Ivoire.

It will be an interesting matchup between the two teams and one that should be quite competitive.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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03-Sep 2019 Tuesday 1:12 PM (20 days ago)            #9
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FIBA World Cup: South Korea Seek to Avoid Successive Blowouts

Korea Republic vs Russia

South Korea's FIBA World Cup campaign did not get off to a particularly promising start as they were hammered, 95-69, by Argentina.

The South Koreans were simply outclassed by the Argentines, which was predicted in SBOBET's preview of that game. Naturalised Korean big man Ricardo Ratliffe or Ra Gun-ah did all he could to keep the game respectable, but the Koreans just didn't have enough firepower to cope.

The Koreans will look to give a better account of themselves against Russia, who scored a big 82-77 win over Nigeria in their opening match.

The FIBA World Cup 2019 betting odds will once again be against the Asian side in their second game. But they will at least stand a much better chance of being more competitive this time around.

Talking Points

Ratliffe and who else for Korea?

Ratliffe was a one-man show for the South Koreans against Argentina. The 30-year-old led the Koreans with 31 points and 15 rebounds in 35 minutes. But even with his valiant effort, the Koreans never really made it much of a contest.

That's because aside from Ratliffe, only Junghyun Lee (15 points) was the only other Korean in double-digits. Everyone else struggled significantly as Korea shot a mere 32 per cent as a team from the field.

Just as concerning was their inability to defend from the perimeter. They allowed the Argentines to hit 17 of 31 3-point shots for a sizzling 54 per cent.

While Ratliffe will most likely continue to put up FIBA World Cup 2019 highlights, it's painfully clear that the Koreans will need much more from the supporting cast surrounding the big man to be even halfway competitive in this competition.

It remains to be seen where exactly that help will come from, though. This South Korean side is hardly among the strongest of the tournament's Asian contingent. They are lacking experience in international play and don't have many standout talents.

South Korea suffers a defeat against Argentina in their first FIBA World Cup match
Seounghyun Lee in action playing for Korea Republic against Argentina

The Koreans themselves will have to get hot from long range in order to keep in touch with the Russians.

Russian readying long-range assault

Russia caused one of the shocks of the first day of FIBA World Cup action when they defeated a highly touted Nigeria side, 82-77.

Despite their lack of NBA-level talent on the team, the Russians were able to hold their own against D'Tigers big and athletic NBA players.

The one player on the Russian side with NBA experience -- former first-round pick Sergey Karasev -- had eight points off the bench.

Instead, starters Mikhail Kulagin led the way with 16 points while Andrey Vorontsevic added 14. Six Russian players had at least eight points in what was a balanced attack.

The Russians' strong 3-point shooting -- 11-of-27 -- helped them edge out the Nigerians. Kulagin alone was responsible for four of those triples. They could potentially have another big game from beyond the arc after seeing the Argentines light up the Koreans for 17 triples.

After defeating one of their biggest rivals in Group B, Russia can take a massive step towards securing a spot in the next round by defeating the weakest side of the four-team group.

It would be quite a shock that after their strong performance against Nigeria, Russia don't take care of business against South Korea.

History

The Koreans are still searching for their first FIBA World Cup win in a long while. Their last World Cup win came all the way back in 1994 since they didn't win a single game in the last two World Cups they qualified in (1998 and 2014).

As for Russia, they are hoping to make another deep run in the tournament. They finished runners-up in their first two World Cup campaigns in 1994 and 1998 but finished just 10th in 2002 and seventh in 2010.

What are the odds?

As of this writing, there are no SBOBET odds on South Korea and Russia on the money line market, perhaps since the odds of the Asians winning are just way too high. But on the Asian Handicap market, the Russians are favoured by -13.50.

The match against Argentina highlighted just how lacking the South Koreans are behind Ratliffe. It would take quite a turnaround for them to remain competitive against a Russia team that looked so impressive against Nigeria.

The Russians will likely be very motivated to capitalise on a great opportunity to all but secure a spot in the second round. It's hard to see them squandering it against this fairly weak South Korea team.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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03-Sep 2019 Tuesday 1:16 PM (20 days ago)            #10
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FIBA World Cup: USA Ready for Tricky Turkish Test

USA vs Turkey

The two top teams of FIBA World Cup Group E collide as the USA face off with Turkey. After much talk about several US stars pulling out of the squad, the defending champions got their tournament off to a predictably strong start with an 88-67 win over the Czech Republic.

Meanwhile, the Turks had an almost identical scoreline in their tournament opener as they swept past the Rui Hachimura-led Japan team, 86-67.

With a number of players with NBA experience on the team, Turkey will be the US's toughest test in the first group stage. But still, the FIBA World Cup 2019 odds fancy the Americans to pass it with flying colours.

Talking Points

Team USA on their way

Team USA hardly had to break a sweat in their opening match against the Czech Republic. After a bit of slow start in the first quarter, the Americans went on a huge run in the second and never looked back as they kept the Czechs in check for the remainder of the game.

The Boston Celtics duo of Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum combined for 23 points -- 20 coming in the first half -- to send the US on their way. Donovan Mitchell led the team with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Harrison Barnes was the other US player in double figures with 14 points.

The US also showcased their significant size and athletic advantages on the defensive end. Despite the best efforts of Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky, the Czechs hardly stood a chance.

Coach Gregg Popovich was pleased with the team's performance on the defensive end of the court and believes it has to be their "calling card" in this tournament.

After their shock exhibition loss to Australia, there was growing concern that this US team missing a handful of their top stars would be quite vulnerable in the World Cup.

But while that may yet be the case against the very top competition, the US showed that they are still head and shoulders above the other teams in the tournament. Their size and athleticism on the wings, in particular, will be a problem that most teams will struggle to solve.

FIBA World Cup: Turkey's Ersan Ilyasova shots a few three-points against Japan
Turkey's Ersan Ilyasova taking a shot against Japan

Turkey have the tools to cause trouble

Much like the US, Turkey had few problems dealing with Japan in their opener. The Turks jumped out to a double-digit lead midway through the first quarter and were in complete control from there.

That should be no surprise given the talent on this Turkish team. They have four players with NBA experience former Celtics big man Semih Erden, Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova, Philadelphia 76ers guard Furkan Korkmaz, and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman.

Ilyasova paced the team with 19 points and 10 rebounds against Japan, while Osman and Korkmaz added 12 and 10, respectively.

In Korkmaz and Osman, Turkey have what most other teams in the tournament outside of the US do not: two capable NBA-calibre wing players. Although they are still way below the quality of the Americans, they at least have a chance to remain competitive and produce some FIBA World Cup 2019 highlights.

While Ilyasova went 5-of-9 on 3-pointers against Japan, Osman and Korkmaz were 0-of-5 combined. Those two will need to find their shooting stroke from distance against the Americans or they risk suffering a heavy defeat.

History

The US and Turkey have face off against each other twice in FIBA World Cup history, and they've come in the last two editions of the tournament. Unsurprisingly, the US have come out on top on both occasions.

They first met in the final of the 2010 FIBA World Championship, which the US won, 81-64, in Istanbul. They also met in the group stage of the 2014 FIBA World Cup. Again, the US strolled to a 98-77 win thanks to 22 points and eight rebounds from Kenneth Faried.

What are the odds?

There are still no SBOBET odds for this match as of this writing, but they will most likely favour the US by a decent margin. While the Turks have some talented players at their disposal, it will still be tough to see them giving the Americans too many problems.

With a game now under their belt, the US should be keen to be at their best against their most difficult test of the first round. It will be a good measure of where the team is in their development ahead of more challenging games to come.

 

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05-Sep 2019 Thursday 2:11 PM (18 days ago)            #11
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FIBA World Cup: Nigeria and Korea Battle to Salvage Some Pride

Korea Republic vs Nigeria

After suffering two losses in a row, both Korea and Nigeria are not going to make it in the second round of the FIBA World Cup.

South Korea endured back-to-back blowout defeats in their games against Argentina and Russia while Nigeria also experienced the same fate in Group B.

Both of these teams came in the tournament with hopes of upsetting their powerhouse rivals. However, that didn’t come into fruition as they struggled mightily on offence in their respective games.

As these teams are trying to salvage some pride going into the classification round, they are hoping to come away with a win this time as they conclude the group phase games.

SBOBET gives you a sneak peek on this last group phase match in Group B.

Talking Points

Josh Okogie and who else for Nigeria?

After lording over stiff competition in the FIBA Africas, the men in green and white made their way to the big dance. Even if their FIBA World Cup 2019 odds of going into the second round were low, Nigeria did all they could to put up a good fight against Argentina and Russia.

While their loss against Argentina being somewhat a foregone conclusion, the same can’t be said against their game against the Russians. For the most part, the Nigerians have had the upper hand up until the last few minutes.

Trailing by eight points within six minutes left, Russia unleashed a 10-0 blast to take the lead for good. It was clutch baskets by Mikhail Kulagin and former NBA draftee Sergey Karasev that doomed the Nigerians.

Minnesota Timberwolves sophomore Josh Okogie continues to improve over the offseason. During the last NBA Summer League, Okogie got to showcase his all-around skills as he led the Timberwolves to four straight wins in the tournament.

Overall, he showed great poise along with his boundless energy and that continues to show in the World Cup as he provided us some of the best FIBA World Cup 2019 highlights.

In Nigeria’s campaign so far, the former Georgia Tech alum averaged 18 points and 4.5 assists per game emerging as their number one scoring option. However, the lack of consistent support particularly from his NBA-calibre teammates did not help their cause.

Josh Okogie is one of Nigeria's best men in FIBA World Cup
Nigeria's Josh Okogie during their match against Argentina

Fellow NBA-ers Al Farouq-Aminu and Ekpe Udoh failed to show up for Nigeria. Aminu only averaged 6.5 points per game in two contests while Udoh failed to score a single point after chipping in only three in their game against Argentina.

Despite their disappointing showings, it’s never too late for these two players to make amends in the classification round as they try to close out their campaign on a good note.

Korea’s offensive woes

South Korea was expected to light up the scoreboard in the World Cup, but that has not been the case so far two games in.

The Sang Shik Kim-mentored club struggled in their shooting percentages, making only 32-per cent of their shots against Argentina and 42-per cent in their match against the Russians.

Ricardo Ratliffe has been the only consistent option at the offensive end for the Koreans. The hefty reinforcement posted norms of 25 points and 12.5 rebounds on 50-per cent shooting. His dominance in the interior had kept the Asian powerhouse afloat for the most part.

In their first two games, South Korea only had two players scoring in double digits with Ratliffe being one of them. Deadshot guards Junghyun Lee and Daesung Lee managed to lead the locals in points but their shooting efficiency were left to be desired.

With their hopes of winning a World Cup medal being unlikely -- perhaps the Koreans can turn on their focus into making the 2020 Tokyo Olympics -- and they can do so if they fare better in the next few games.

Poland’s victory against China last night gave all Asian teams (except Japan since they’re the hosts) a sliver of hope on that regard. For their best case scenario, China would have to lose against Venezuela and the Koreans would have to win their next games to be the highest ranked Asian team in the tournament.

Which is why getting a victory against the dangerous Nigeria team is imperative and they hope to fire on all cylinders this time around.

History

Nigeria have already competed in three World Cups. They managed to finish 13th and 14th respectively in the tournament’s 1998 and 2006 editions.

Korea, on the other hand, are still looking for their first World Cup win in a long while. They have made seven total appearances, but they never won any medals.

Betting Tip

??

Korea Republic vs Nigeria Nigeria Asian Handicap -13.00 @ 2.08
September 4, 16:30 (GMT+8)

Given their recent form and cast of players, Nigeria are the hot favourites to win this game to wrap up the group stage. Coach Alexander Nwora’s squad has the tools to stop the Korean’s inside-out attack with their versatile and athletic defenders.

It’s hard to imagine any Korean that can stop the scoring trio of Josh Okogie, Nnamdi Vincent, and Jordan Nwora.  And if somehow guys like Al Farouq-Aminu and Ekpe Udoh can get their offence going, the Nigerians are guaranteed to score their first victory of the tournament.

 

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05-Sep 2019 Thursday 2:14 PM (18 days ago)            #12
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FIBA World Cup: Nigeria Demolish Korea Republic to Close Out the Group Stage

Nigeria 108-66 Korea Republic

Nigeria came out firing on all cylinders as they annihilated Korea, 108-66, in their last game of the group phase in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

With both of these teams having suffered two losses in a row, Nigeria and Korea’s FIBA World Cup 2019 odds of making it far have taken a huge hit and this game served as a way to salvage some pride coming into the classification stage.

After a nip-and-tuck first period, the Alexander Nwora-mentored squad unleashed a 10-0 blast to grab the sizeable advantage. They continued to add on to their scoreboard and the Koreans never threatened from there.

Alexander Nwora spearheads Nigeria in beating Korea Republic during their final FIBA World Cup group stage game
Nigeria coach Alexander Nwora gestures to his men during their FIBA World Cup match against Korea Republic

Eric Micheal led the way with 17 points while Ike Diogu, Chimezie Metu, and Ben Uzoh chipped in 16, 15, and 10 respectively for the Nigerians.

On the other hand, Ricardo Ratliffe continued his strong campaign by posting an 18-point 11-rebound double-double. He was backstopped by Seounghyun Lee who tallied 12 markers and six boards.

SBOBET takes a look on some of the best FIBA World Cup 2019 highlights in this match.

Highlights of the game

Ricardo Ratliffe kick started the game with his personal 5-0 run where he made spectacular plays on both ends of the floor. The naturalized reinforcement blocked Al Farouq-Aminu’s layup on one end, and then showed off his deft touch with back-to-back outside jumpers.

Nigeria answered via a run of their own by pulling out stops on defence. NBA cagers Al Farouq-Aminu and Josh Okogie were able to convert points off of Korea’s turnovers to put themselves back into the game.

The men in green had their share of missed shots at the rim. However, their rebounding fueled their run in the first period. Meanwhile, the Korean’s three-point shooting was spot-on so far.

In what was an impressive sequence, Eric Micheal managed to score an and-one off of second chances after some missed shots midway in the first period.

South Korea continued to rely on Ricardo Ratliffe for their offence and he continued to torch his defenders with a boatload of moves in the low post.

 Chan Hee Park made some key plays for Coach Sang Shik Kim by drawing fouls on back-to-back occasions after getting some stops. The 32-year-old veteran, however, only scored four points in this game as he missed some of his free throws.

Fast forward to the second quarter, Nigeria scored 10 unanswered points sparked by multiple three-point shots by Josh Okogie.

After a fastbreak layup to stop the bleeding for Korea, Ike Diogu imposed his will down low for an and-one to put them up by 15 points.

Nigeria continued to score off of threes and from transition to cap off their dominant second period. They annihilated Korea in the second half as they watched their lead balloon up to as high as 42 points.

The interior duo of Eric Micheal and Ike Diogu led the charge in the first half for the squad. However, it was guards like Chimezie Metu and Ben Uzoh who got their scoring going in the second half. Both of them poured in double-digit points while shooting above 50-per cent from the field.

The Korean defence was too concerned to not let Josh Okogie get his usual numbers in this game, but he found his open teammates with his five assists. The Minnesota Timberwolves guard also lived up to his reputation on defence by tallying four steals and a block.

Meanwhile, Al Farouq-Aminu also showed out with his all-around game. The Portland Trail Blazers forward tallied nine points, five rebounds, and three assists.

Overall, the Nigerians were simply too good in this game. Their plays were executed to perfection and they managed to use their size advantage to overwhelm their opponents.

Key statistics

Nigeria shot well from three-point distance compared to Korea. The men in green knocked down 15 out of their 30 attempts (50-per cent) while the Asian powerhouse converted 11 out 32 from there (34-per cent).

The hot-shooting Koreans failed once again failed to score more than 75 points in this game while this was the highest scoring output for Nigeria in the tournament.

Nigeria outrebounded and outhustled Korea in this game. The former poured in 55 rebounds, 10 steals, and five blocks as a unit. They also took care of the ball well with only 10 turnovers compared to 16 for Korea.

What’s next?

The Nigerians will kick off the classification round by facing African rivals Ivory Coast on Friday at the Guangzhou Gymnasium.

As for South Korea, they are set to go up against the loser between the upcoming matchup between the China and Venezuela (happening later) at the same venue and date. China lost its previous match against Poland while Venezuela won handily against Ivory Coast.

 

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05-Sep 2019 Thursday 2:18 PM (18 days ago)            #13
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FIBA World Cup: USA Seeking Strong Finish Group Stage

USA vs Japan

Team USA faced their biggest test of the FIBA World Cup group stage against a tricky Turkish squad and very nearly failed.

Turkey had the defending champions on the ropes for most of the fourth quarter, but a combination of bad luck and poor free-throw shooting by the Turks saw them suffer an agonising defeat in overtime.

The win sees the Americans move on to the second round of the tournament. But they still have the small matter of Japan to take care of.

One of the US's key players in Jayson Tatum also suffered a sprained ankle late in the game. With his availability now in question, other players in the squad will need to step up against the Japanese.

But even without their talented forward, the FIBA World Cup 2019 odds still have the Americans priced as heavy favourites in their final group game.

Talking Points

Other players will get their chance

The US will consider themselves very lucky to get past Turkey. They needed a foul on a Tatum 3-point attempt with 0.1 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. The Turks also missed four consecutive free throws in overtime that would've sealed the famous win. Instead, the Americans were able to rally and book their ticket to the next round.

After having few problems in their opening game against the Czech Republic, the Americans were just sluggish offensively against Turkey. They shot a mere 35 per cent from the field, including 14-of-40 on 3-pointers. Star guards Kemba Walker and Donovan Mitchell combined to go just 8-of-26 from the field as the Turkish zone defence stifled the American attack.

Still, a win is a win, and the Americans will look to get back on track in their final group match against Japan.

Even if his ankle sprain turns out to be mild, Tatum will likely still miss the game as a precautionary measure. That should open the door for the likes of Khris Middleton, who had a team-high 15 points against Turkey, and Tatum's Boston Celtics team-mate Jaylen Brown to get more playing time against the Japanese.

Due to their lack of size and athleticism in the backcourt, the Japanese have been unable to stop opposing guards in this tournament. Middleton, Mitchell and Walker could end up having big games as a result.

Japan are still aiming for their first win in FIBA World Cup as they clash against USA
Rui Hachimura dunking during Japan's match against Czech Republic

Japan playing for pride

Japan are off to the 17-32 classification round of the FIBA World Cup after suffering their second loss of the tournament to the Czech Republic, 89-76.

The Japanese shot the ball well, going 55 per cent on 2-pointers, but they also had 14 turnovers to the Czech's five and allowed 11 3-pointers.

The NBA duo of Rui Hachimura (21 points, six rebounds) and Yuta Watanabe (15 points, five rebounds) once again produced most of the FIBA World Cup 2019 highlights for the Akatsuki Five. Unfortunately, they haven't received much support elsewhere.

After losing to the two other teams in Group E by double-digits, Japan's chances of staying competitive against the US don't look particularly great.

The Japanese just aren't getting enough production from the other members of their team. It goes without saying that they will need a complete team effort to trouble the Americans, who possess depth at every position.

With the Americans possibly taking their foot off the gas just a little bit after sealing qualification, perhaps the Japanese can stay close if they simply outwork the defending champions. But even then, the disparity in talent could still be too large to overcome.

History

It's been a while since the US and Japan met in a major tournament, but those encounters have not been at all competitive. Their last meeting came back in the 1972 Olympics when the Americans won, 99-33. It's the largest of the US's three Olympic victories over their Asian opponents, which have come by an average margin of 61 points.

This will be the two teams' first-ever meeting at the FIBA World Cup.

What are the odds?

SBOBET odds have the US favoured by a whopping -28.50 over the Japanese on the Asian Handicap market, which should come as no surprise.

While the US had a tough time against Turkey, the Japanese don't have nearly enough talent to cause the defending champions similar problems.

Moreover, the Americans will be eager to put their underwhelming performance against Turkey behind them and remind everyone that they are still the team to beat in the tournament.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 05-Sep-2019 at 2:18 PM


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09-Sep 2019 Monday 2:15 PM (14 days ago)            #14
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FIBA World Cup: Giannis Against Team USA, European Powerhouses Advance

Basketball action continues to heat up as we are approaching the latter stages of the FIBA World Cup in China.

Now that the dust has settled, these 32 teams are now divided to either playing in the classification stage or in the advancing rounds where they take on a perilous path towards winning the championship.

Unfortunately for Asian teams, none of them advanced further to the second round as they didn’t fare well in the preliminaries. On the other hand, representatives from Europe and from the Americas moved on.

Certain rivalries are to be rekindled as we go along. Fans all over the world -- including this writer -- are definitely in for a huge treat.

SBOBET takes you into some of the storylines that we should be looking out for.

Familiar faces from the Americas

By winning in all of their games so far, Argentina and Brazil are two teams in the Americas that are primed to advance further in the tournament.

Led by the duo of Facundo Campazzo and Luis Scola, the Argentinians took the top spot in Group B by defeating the likes of Russia, Nigeria, and Korea in their respective matches.

Speaking of Luis Scola, the 39-year-old veteran doesn’t look to have lost a step as he continues to make history. A few days ago, he climbed up to second place in the all-time FIBA World Cup scoring list, overtaking Australian icon Andrew Gaze.

Other than Argentina, Brazil have found their stride in the ongoing tournament. They have been undefeated so far three games in – including their statement win against the Giannis Antetokounmpo-led Greece squad in the group phase.

Former NBA vets Anderson Varejao and Leandro Barbosa continue to lead the way for the Aleksandar Petrovic-mentored squad, while young guns in Bruno Caboclo and Cristiano Felicio have largely contributed as well to their campaign.

They are set to face Czech Republic later to vie for a spot in the quarterfinals as they try to keep up with Argentina.

European teams up for colossal clashes

It’s no secret that Europe is a hotbed for basketball talent as majority of their teams made their way to the second round. And boy, do we want to see them go up against each other.

Serbia and Spain are set to clash in what will be a testy affair. These two squads are loaded with NBA-calibre players and for sure this upcoming game will produce some of the best FIBA World Cup 2019 highlights.

Serbia has been, by far, the best team in this year's FIBA World Cup
Serbia's Nikola Jokic puts up a shot against Philippines' June Mar Fajardo

The top-ranked team in the world will boast the trio of Nikola Jokic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Boban Marjanovic, while the veteran-laden Spain club will have the likes of Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, and the Hernangomez brothers.

On the other hand, the matchup between France and Australia won’t disappoint as well given their oozing talent. The Les Bleus currently have the likes of Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum, and Evan Fournier while the Boomers have Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, and Aron Baynes.

Lastly, let’s not overlook Poland in this tournament as they have been undefeated as well four games in. Even with low FIBA World Cup 2019 odds of making it to the second round, the Poles dominated all comers in Group A and their Cinderella run continues as they’ll face Argentina later.

Perhaps the Argentinians should watch out for the backcourt combo of Mateusz Ponitka and AJ Slaughter. Despite having no current NBA cagers on their roster, head coach Mike Taylor has done a tremendous job in leading them to their unprecedented run.

The Greek Freak vs. Team USA

This is the matchup that we all wanted to see - it’s the ever-talented Team USA going up against the reigning NBA MVP plus his trusty teammates.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been on a tear since Greece’s defeat against Brazil and perhaps that awakened him after shots were fired toward his direction.

We all know what he can bring to the table, which is why his teammates like Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Nick Calathes, and Georgios Papagiannis are going to be the x-factors in their game against the Americans.

On the other side of the fence, Team USA are back to its dangerous form especially after surviving a scare against Turkey a few days ago. Right after that game, the star-spangled squad pummeled the hapless Japanese team which sent Rui Hachimura packing.

Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks teammates said it best when asked about this upcoming encounter.

“Oh, he’s going to come out to kill us. There’s no question. He’ll try to tear our heads off. I wouldn’t expect anything otherwise,” said Lopez.

“We’re not backing down from anything or anybody. I know he’s going to take that game very personally. I’m sure if he sees me on the fast break, he’s going to try to run me through the wall. And it’s the same for me,” added Middleton.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 09-Sep-2019 at 2:15 PM


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10-Sep 2019 Tuesday 8:13 PM (13 days ago)            #15
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FIBA World Cup: Final Phase Bracket, Classification Stage Already Set

Following the conclusion of the Second Round on Monday, the Final Phase of the FIBA World Cup has now been confirmed with eight contending teams slated to go up against each other.

All eyes will be at the Wukesong Sport Arena in Beijing, China where these squads are vying for the coveted Naismith Trophy while they also book their tickets for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

None of them can afford to lose now and only the last team standing will get to be crowned the champions of the world.

Will a new champion be crowned or will Team USA continue to assert their dominance in the world of basketball?

Allow SBOBET to give you a sneak peek as we look on what’s ahead.

Notable matchups in the Final Phase

Per FIBA World Cup 2019 odds, Team USA remain to be the hot favourites in winning the Naismith Trophy for the third consecutive time.

But even if they are unbeaten so far, it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies for the Gregg Popovich-mentored squad – especially when they were almost defeated by a tough Turkey side. With their roster isn’t as star-studded as before, they relied heavily on their athleticism, stout defence and teamwork to get themselves through.

After overcoming Greece and Brazil, Team USA will be slated to face France in their quarterfinals matchup. Facing Les Bleus won’t be easy especially with the likes of Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum, and Evan Fournier leading the squad. On any given night, these French players can light up the scoreboard and they might upset Team USA if they get lucky.

Another matchup to watch out for is between Argentina and Serbia. Argentina’s pick-and-roll duo of Facundo Campazzo and Luis Scola continues to overwhelm their counterparts as they’ve gone unblemished five games in. They will be put to the test against the mighty Serbs who are the top-ranked country in the world today.

Speaking of Serbia, they are also a formidable team looking to avenge their recent loss against Spain. The group will be headlined by the likes of NBA-ers Boban Marjanovic, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Nikola Jokic – all who have been extremely efficient in the box score so far. Their crisp ball movement, outside shooting, and size will definitely give the Argentineans fits on defence.

On the other side of the bracket, we will see up-and-coming European teams in Poland and Czech Republic facing perennial contenders in Spain and Australia respectively.

Poland are hoping that they could sustain their run in the tournament, and they’ll have a chance to prove their mettle as they go up against the ever-strong Spanish team. The Mike Taylor-coached squad will be featuring the backcourt tandem of AJ Slaughter and Mateusz Ponitka, who are expected to produce more FIBA World Cup 2019 highlights.

Fresh from their statement win against Serbia, the Spaniards are brimming with confidence coming into this game. Coach Sergio Scariolo has a lot of weapons in his team, especially with a great mix of veterans in Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Sergio Llull, and the Hernangomez brothers.

Marc Gasol is up to deliver Spain in beating Poland and surpass the 2019 FIBA World Cup quarter-final clash
Marc Gasol in action during Spain's FIBA World Cup clash against Puerto Rico

Czech Republic lost against Greece yesterday, but the latter was eliminated from contention since they didn’t win by at least 12 points. With that said, this marks the first time in history that Czech Republic went to as far as the quarterfinals in the FIBA World Cup. Tomas Satoransky and Ondrej Balvin are expected to bring out their A-game in the quarterfinals.

They will battle against an Australian team stacked with NBA standouts. Patty Mills and Joe Ingles are expected to torch their opponents on offence while the frontcourt duo of Andrew Bogut and Aron Baynes will bring in physicality and veteran leadership.

Looking ahead for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

The other 24 teams who didn’t make it will have to look ahead for next year’s Tokyo Olympics as most of them will be competing for those spots in the upcoming Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

The said tournament will have European countries like Lithuania, Italy, Greece, Russia, Turkey, and Germany, Americas nations like Brazil, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Canada, and other teams like Tunisia and New Zealand.

Nigeria and Iran have qualified directly to the Olympics given that they ended up as the top-ranked countries in their respective continents. The Tigers will be on their third consecutive Olympics while Iran will be making its first appearance since the 2008 edition of the tournament. On the other hand, Japan will get to enjoy the same fate since they are the hosts.

Other teams like China, Montenegro, Korea, Angola, Jordan, Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Philippines weren’t as lucky as they’ll fight tooth and nail in order to give themselves a chance to qualify for next year.

China, who served as hosts for this year’s World Cup, is in danger to miss the Olympics for the first time in quite a while the others have been aching to make it back to the quadrennial meet.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 10-Sep-2019 at 8:13 PM


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17-Sep 2019 Tuesday 12:56 PM (6 days ago)            #16
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FIBA World Cup: Team USA Out, Championship Now Up For Grabs

With Team USA’s recent losses to France and Serbia, it’s expected that there will be a new champion in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Only four teams remain in the hunt, as Argentina, Australia, France, and Spain will duke it out vying for the much-coveted Naismith Trophy.

Meanwhile, eliminated teams such as Czech Republic, Poland, Serbia, and USA are going to fight for classification in the FIBA World Rankings while they try to grab momentum way ahead for the Tokyo Olympics happening next year.

Who will bring home the crown in China? We’ll have to see from ourselves here at SBOBET as all eyes are going to be at the Wukesong Arena in Beijing.

What happened to Team USA?

It’s no secret that Team USA came in as the prohibitive favourites in this tournament, per our FIBA World Cup 2019 odds. When you have a roster loaded with NBA players and a coach like Gregg Popovich manning the sidelines, why wouldn’t you bet on them right?

But compared to before, the current USA roster isn’t as star-studded as it used to be. Several players such as Damian Lillard, James Harden, De’Aaron Fox, and Bradley Beal have all pulled out since their main focus is preparing for the NBA 2020 season.

With that said, younger NBA players took this as a chance not only to represent the flag, but to try and boost their basketball resumes as well. In this iteration of Team USA, we’ve seen the likes of Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Myles Turner, Khris Middleton, and Jaylen Brown show what they got in basketball’s biggest stage.

As expected, they went unbeaten in all of their five games. Most of them were double-digit blowouts except for their match against Turkey where they eked out a one-point win. More than anything, that game showed that the back-to-back World Cup champs have a chink in their armor and that they can be defeated.

Fast forward to the final phase, they went up against a tough, veteran-laden France team also loaded with NBA talent. Evan Fournier, Frank Ntilikina, Nicolas Batum, and Rudy Gobert towed the team to a quarterfinals berth and they have played very well on both ends of the floor.

The game went back and forth for the most part with both teams exchanging leads. But in the fourth period, it was Les Bleus who delivered one clutch play after another while the Americans couldn’t do anything much on offence.

France beats Team USA by 79-89 and advances through FIBA World Cup at the Dongguan Basketball Center
Rudy Gobert and Nicolas Batum react in France’s 79-89 FIBA World Cup quarter-final win over USA

Rudy Gobert stepped up big for the France. The NBA’s reigning defencive player of the year notched 21 points and 16 rebounds as he muscled his way to a thin USA frontcourt. Evan Fournier, Nando De Colo, and Frank Ntilikina provided ample support by scoring with 22, 18, and 11 respectively.

Les Bleus managed to break USA’s long winning streak of 58 straight international games. The Gregg Popovich-mentored club’s last loss was way back in the tournament’s 2006 edition where they lost to Greece in the semifinals.

USA’s woes continued when they lost to Serbia last night, 94-89. In what should’ve been a preview of the FIBA World Cup finals, the Orlovi dominated the star-spangled team early in the first half. The Americans tried to mount a comeback late in the final period, only to come up short in the end.

Bogdan Bogdanovic continued his meteoric rise to stardom with some of his best FIBA World Cup 2019 highlights. He poured in 28 points and six assists while Vladimir Lucic and Vasilije Micic tallied 15 and 10. Nikola Jokic scored nine markers, while fellow NBA players Boban Marjanovic and Nemanja Bjelica scored eight apiece.

While a berth for the Tokyo Olympics is secured, USA’s second straight loss will guarantee their worst finish in the tournament for more than a decade and it will be interesting on how they plan on bouncing back after this.

Who can take advantage and bring home the crown?

In the semifinals bracket, it will be Australia going up against Spain and France facing Argentina. All of them are loaded and for sure pundits will have a hard time on predicting the victors this time.

Argentina and Spain are both seeking for championship glory anew. The Argentineans have won the inaugural edition of the tournament way back in 1950, while the Spaniards hoisted a trophy of their own back in 2006.

Argentina will continue to parade the duo of Facundo Campazzo and the ageless Luis Scola. The Sergio Hernandez-coached club will be the first team in tournament history to make it to the semis without a current NBA player.

Spain, meanwhile, will have the likes of Ricky Rubio, Marc Gasol, and the Hernangomez brothers. All of them are no longer new to the big stage and for sure they will give their opponents a run for their money.

The Boomers and Les Bleus are both seeking for their first title, which is why they are hungry and they are coming.

Patty Mills continues to torch his opponents with his scoring with an average of 22.2 points per game. He will be backstopped by the likes of Joe Ingles, Andrew Bogut, and Aron Baynes.

As for Les Bleus, the wing duo of Nicolas Batum and Evan Fournier will take care of their offence while Rudy Gobert is expected to anchor their defence.

 

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This message was edited by SBOBET on 17-Sep-2019 at 12:56 PM


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